Minister Hill bio
Ten Years is a long time to wait for anything. But that’s exactly how long fans of New Jersey based rock outfit Minister Hill have been clamoring for a follow up to their critically acclaimed self titled debut.
Set to be released this fall, the as yet untitled sophomore disc will feature a completely different sound than what fans are used to. The surreal imagery and insightfully sarcastic lyrics remain but the folk influenced sound that dominated their debut has been replaced by a decidedly more polished power pop/rock sound.
Though there has been a decade long space between albums, Minister Hill front man Howard Herrick has not been idle. “I spent most of the last few years honing my skills, just basically starting from scratch again.” In that time he recorded over 100 songs and acted as the Executive Music Producer on the Renee Zelwegger and Kevin Bacon movie My One and Only.
It was Herrick’s latest foray into writing for the silver screen that reignited his passion for Minister Hill. “I just wasn’t entirely happy yet with the stuff I did prior in the time off,” says Herrick. “I started writing for a movie and while I was writing for that movie, I met a lot of people that are extremely talented, out in LA and it not only inspired me, it influenced me enough to sit down really in a week and write and almost completely record this whole new record.”
The new direction of Minister Hill is very evident in the Christian Cassan produced first single “Everything.” The song which is about a significant other who holds grudges is highlighted by the very melodic hook, can’t you just let things go/and know that I love you so/ do you have to keep everything. Though it’s filled with sarcastic lines that Herrick is known for “Everything” is the most universal sounding record in MH’s sporadic yet long history. “Everyone has had that person in their life that they are just infatuated with and that’s kind of where that song came from,” says Herrick.
At 44 years old Herrick is not your typical musician. He’s a father and husband who is much more concerned with making good music than with touring and enjoying the lifestyle that comes with it and that mind state is reflected in his writing.“ As you get older you really do mellow out. I’ve actually watched and noticed how I’ve changed as a writer, I started out not following any rules at all and as I’ve gotten older I realized how much structure means and realized how much you really need to have elements to make that song stick in the listeners head.”
Aside from Herrick’s improved songwriting skills he also had to deal with the change in how to market and sell music since he last released an album. “I look at the internet as a whole new world and I feel like I had to completely start over and figure out how to reach my listeners.” The solution to this problem was creating a one stop shop of sorts in howardherrick.com, where the MH front man streams and sells his music but also showcases his photography, sculptures and a forthcoming children’s book/CD companion package.
For a guy who’s been playing guitar since he was 7 and writing songs since he was 10 there is no doubt that Howard Herrick loves music. With 3 decades of experience under his belt and a rejuvenated spirit to make great songs, not only will Tinsel town benefit from his skill so will the East Coast die hard fans who still email him to this day asking for new Minister Hill music. As they say good things come to those who wait.
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